Avant Garde Apartment Style: A Mix of Old and New by Mauricio Karam

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When most of us think of “avant garde,” the first thing that comes to mind may not be a juxtaposition of modern and traditional, or even antique styles; however, with a peek inside this apartment by Brazilian architect Mauricio Karam, that’s the “avant garde” approach you’ll see. Step through a foyer with a carved, ornate shelf holding a fluted vase and floral arrangement into the first surprise: an ultra-contemporary living room, with entertainment center on a wood-paneled wall, sleek-lined recliner, and abstract art brightening the neutral color scheme. A round modern dining table and chairs are topped by a crystal chandelier that could have been at Grandma’s house — as could the side tables, desk, and large white-shaded lamps. Want more interesting combinations? A second seating area boasts a square, contemporary-scaled couch — and painted antique velvet armchair.

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Slide glass doors to get to a breakfast nook/snack bar with cool white chairs and casual table — and a definite indoor/outdoor feel. The actual kitchen is straight-up modern: ebony-toned cabinets, table and chairs, stainless steel appliances, track ceiling lighting. Bedrooms are colorful: blues and sand, along with wood, in the master; one “little girl” room, all white, pale pink, and lavender; and a no-nonsense boy’s room in red, blue, and sports print, with a long desk/work area suitable for studying or projects. Even in the midst of modern, however, are still little “traditional” touches: a tufted blue bench at the foot of the bed, an ornate three-drawer nightstand. And a bathroom completes the eclectic mix — with a rectangular vanity sink in pure white, paired with ornate vases filled with purple flowers echoed in the upholstery of a handy stool. The mix works — in “avant garde” fashion that’s truly welcoming.

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